Sunday, November 11, 2012

Repugnance is not immutable

In a New Yorker article called Love on the March, Alex Ross writes

"I am forty-four years old, and I have lived through a startling transformation in the status of gay men and women in the United States. Around the time I was born, homosexual acts were illegal in every state but Illinois. Lesbians and gays were barred from serving in the federal government. There were no openly gay politicians. A few closeted homosexuals occupied positions of power, but they tended to make things more miserable for their kind. Even in the liberal press, homosexuality drew scorn: in The New York Review of Books, Philip Roth denounced the “ghastly pansy rhetoric” of Edward Albee, and a Time cover story dismissed the gay world as a “pathetic little second-rate substitute for reality, a pitiable flight from life.”
"By the mid-eighties, when I was beginning to come to terms with my sexuality, a few gay people held political office, many states had dropped long-standing laws criminalizing sodomy, and sundry celebrities had come out. ...But anti-gay crusades on the religious right threatened to roll back this progress. In 1986, the Supreme Court, upholding Georgia’s sodomy law, dismissed the notion of constitutional protection for gay sexuality as “at best, facetious.”
"Today, gay people of a certain age may feel as though they had stepped out of a lavender time machine. That’s the sensation that hit me when I watched the young man in Tempe shout down a homophobe in the name of the President-elect. Gay marriage is legal in six states and in Washington, D.C. Gays can serve in the military without hiding their sexuality. We’ve seen openly gay judges, congresspeople, mayors (including a four-term mayor of Tempe), movie stars, and talk-show hosts. Gay film and TV characters are almost annoyingly ubiquitous. The Supreme Court, which finally annulled sodomy laws in 2003, is set to begin examining the marriage issue. And the 2012 campaign has shown that Republicans no longer see the gays as a reliable wedge issue: although Mitt Romney opposes same-sex marriage, he has barely mentioned it this fall. "


Here's a different kind of repugnant transaction, that affected a much smaller part of the population:

No comments: